My friend requested that I wrote an article about how to look good at the yard. I think she always looks lovely, but here we have it, 5 ways to look like a fine filly when mucking out (or other non-glamourous tasks).
Firstly, the emphasis here isn’t about piling yourself with makeup or products, because nobody wants to take off their riding hat to see an orange coating inside it. Nor do we want to spend more time getting ready to ride than actually riding. However, we all seem to be super obsessed with our horses and how they look, maintaining their skin, coat, mane and tail, but sometimes to the neglect of our own.
Numero Uno: SPF
Sun protection is sooo vitally important and not just when the sun is out. Ideally you should wear an SPF moisturiser on your face every time you are outdoors. Otherwise you will age prematurely and look like an old nag long before your time.
These come in so many formats and are not necessarily expensive. My favourites are Simple Daily moisturiser, which is super-cheap and so easy to put a quick swipe on after a shower; there really is no excuse. Or if you prefer a perkier look, why not try something like L’Oreal Skin Perfection tinted moisturiser which blends to match your skin tone, gives a lovely natural dewy finish, moisturises AND provides sun protection. What more could you ask for?
Two: Hands Hands Hands
Our hands work so hard when we are around horses. Coated in dirt, getting cold and wet, being subjected to ropes and reins and all sorts of other harsh things; we really need to look after them. I recommend a good slather of a protecting hand cream both before and after your visit.
I recently picked up a little gem in Superdrug. It’s honestly amazing. Not only does it moisturise, but it also leaves an amazing barrier on your skin which really does last. And it’s cheap too!
At home, I keep a bottle of Body Shop Wild Rose caring hand wash in my cloakroom alongside this Balance Me super moisturising hand cream and use it as soon as I get in. The soap is really caring and followed by the moisturiser, not only does it fix sore or chapped hands, it also makes you smell less horsey and more floral.
Investing in a really good pair of gloves – one for riding and one for yard work is so important and such a good way to maintain pretty, happy hands at the yard. I think soon I am going to do a glove review, especially as the weather is getting chillier. Watch this space!
Three: Your Mane Problem
The dreaded hat hair. You’ve been sweating in your lesson and you know that when you take your hat off, your hair is going to be plastered to your head making it look like you still have your helmet on long after you’ve finished riding! Added to this is the fact that hair seems to have that awful habit of soaking up yard smells, making it obvious to just about everyone where you have been.
I like to keep a can of Herbal Essences dry shampoo in my yard bag, just in case I need to go anywhere straight after I’ve seen Cee. I like this one best because it’s paraben free, which means I’m not spraying nasties on to my head and it’s also clear (don’t you hate that white residue that some dry shampoos can leave?). The minty fragrance also does a great job of masking any bad smells before I can get home to a shower. On that note, I also ALWAYS have a hair tie (or 5) in my car, in my yard bag or on my wrist.
Four: Make Up
If I go to the yard after work, or in the middle of the day, then I will have my usual makeup on. But if I wake up on the weekend for example, and head straight to see Cee, then I will only do minimal makeup, mainly because I know that I will come home and shower it all off after anyway. The products I rely on are quick and multi-functional.
No 7 Instant Radiance to touch up under my eyes and around my nose. Also very good for covering up dark shadows when I’ve had to get up stupidly early for a show.
Bourjois gel blusher to add a bit of “freshly pinched” colour in my cheeks and make me look generally more alive. I find this gel-consistency has much more staying power than traditional powder blushers.
Bourjois 10h face power to even my skin tone and keep me shine-free when I get hot from riding or mucking out (also has a handy mirror in the compact, great for touch-ups)
Benefit they’re real mascara. This has the best staying power I’ve ever experienced and a quick slick makes your eyes absolutely pop.
Lucus’ PawPaw ointment. This Australian wonder is great for lips, but also for general scratches, scrapes or irritations anywhere. I always keep a tube on me and it’s especially handy to have at the yard because I always seem to end up with a blister or chapped lips. It’s fairly pricey in the UK, but whenever anyone I know visits Oz, I beg them to bring me back some.
And then that’s it, I’m ready to head out the door.
Number 5: Dress Code
I think horsey people tend to fall in to two camps here. One lot seem to grab anything from the floor to wear, be it stained old trackie bottoms or a holey top. The other set always look pristine and sport the latest equine fashions.
I probably fall somewhere in the middle, but I can’t stand it when people look like slobs at the yard. Yes you are working around animals and you do run the risk of getting sweaty and dirty. But please! That doesn’t mean you can arrive looking like you’re wearing your nan’s pyjama bottoms and a pair of 15 year old trainers.
Why not lay your outfit out the night before, if you know you have an early start? This will eliminate the need to scoop anything from the “floordrobe” and chuck it on. I encountered an unfortunate incident where my friend found a pair of dirty underwear stuffed down the leg of her breeches one day because she had picked a dirty pair from her bedroom floor to wear when she was in a rush. Need I say more??